Our "A Calendar to Live By" features 11 survivors we serve through Here for the Girls programs and their inspiring, uplifting stories about their cancer journey. Get to know this month's model, Cheri! (If our calendar isn't hanging on your wall right now, click here to get one.)
Ms. April: Cheri
54, Diagnosed at 50
3rd degree family history – no known genetic mutation
A bizarre dream prompted Cheri to do a breast self-exam. She dreamt she was a chemo patient cheering on a group of sick patients at a local cancer center. As a real-life nurse case manager, she attributed the dream to work stress spilling over into her sleep. But with the dream still on her mind, she examined her breast and surprisingly felt a large lump. The lump turned out to be stage III breast cancer that a year later metastasized. “Only this time I wasn’t a cheerleader,” she says. Cheri admits to hiding herself in a corner during her chemotherapy sessions. “I wouldn’t talk to anyone.” That all changed when she found the Viera, FL, Beyond Boobs! group and discovered the strength that only can be gained by women supporting each other, sharing struggles, and celebrating victories. One of the biggest adjustments has been going from being the constant caregiver—as a mom, grandmother, nurse, and wife —to being the one receiving care. Through it all she’s learned the importance of taking time for herself and has made “fun” a top priority. Now a co-facilitator for the Viera BB! group, she wants to help the young women find joy, even in their darkest times.